Furnace maintenance in Salt Lake City may cost as low as $50 for professional cleaning, but some homeowners can spend up to $800 depending on the type of furnace.

The three common types comprise oil, gas and wood furnaces. Most people, however, pay between $150 and $270 for a service that’s usually required at least once every year. While you can clean the furnace by yourself, there’s the risk of unknowingly breaking certain parts as you remove them to clear dirt and debris build-up. These parts usually involve ducts and vents, which can be more easily cleaned with a special vacuum cleaner used by an HVAC professional.

The Health Risks of Irregular Cleaning

Poor indoor air quality remains a major health concern when you don’t regularly clean the furnace. As an example, a unit that’s been unused for several months may release a bad smell once you turn it on again. This indicates the presence of accumulated dust on the furnace’s heat exchange during its idle time.

Open windows and properly ventilate the room before using the furnace to remove foul odor. Another culprit for poor indoor air quality involves carbon monoxide, which is odorless yet more harmful than dust build-up. It’s more difficult to know if your home has high levels of carbon monoxide since you can’t smell it. An HVAC professional can run some tests to find out if your furnace needs more than an annual cleaning service.

What to Expect During Inspection

Once you hire a contractor for an inspection, the person will normally check the thermostat and other electrical parts. They should tell you if filters need to be changed or cleaned, look for any signs of damage on heat exchanges and lubricate motors when necessary. Broken or cracked heat exchangers may cause carbon monoxide leaks, so you should ask the contractor about the right way to determine defective parts.

If the furnace doesn’t emit heated air as strongly as it used to, the weak flow can be the result of dirty evaporator coils. The contractor may check for other underlying problems, and you should be there during the entire time to learn a few things about inspecting furnaces. You may not have to pay for an inspection when you hire someone to clean the furnace again.

Should You Replace It?

Man fixing the furnace

A well-maintained furnace can last for up to 15 years, and any longer than that will require you to replace it for better energy efficiency. Some people think that it’s pointless to buy a new unit when they don’t plan to live elsewhere. This might be true for those who rent an apartment or house. However, an owner-occupier who plan to sell their property can use a new furnace with a warranty as added leverage for closing a sale.

Some furnaces may require cleaning more than once a year to guarantee better energy efficiency during the winter season. If you want to save money on professional cleaning, look for a contractor when the weather is still warm and sunny. Most service providers offer lower rates during this time because of the lower demand for cleaning services.